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More Concepts On Writing

Posted by on Dec 23, 2013

I took a look back and realized that I really don’t write that often about, well, writing. As I get close to 1,500 articles it seems I’ve only written about or mentioned the subject of writing only 45 times. That’s around 3% of all the things I’ve written about on this blog, and I’m someone who believes that the writing is the most important thing on a blog (content that is, although there are some who disagree; but I digress…), email, and pretty much anything else where actual writing is concerned.

Embraced by Words
Creative Commons License Robbert van der
Steeg
via Compfight

What do I mean? Look at what’s below; this is an actual email I got from someone hoping to write for me:

“This is Dan.I am a Digital Marketing Specialist.Currently I provide guest post outreach services to my clients.I’ve seen that ,you are also intetested
in my blogging.So here I am going to offer you high quality guest post services.

i am having more than 500+ sites with high page rank and high domain authority (PR-3 to PR-8{DA-30 to DA-94})

Let me know if you have any requirements.I can dafinately help you out.”

Yes, that’s how it was formatted as well. Now I ask you, is this great writing? Is this even close to being good? Even if you can’t write, I’m betting you’re looking at this and saying “I could do better than that”, and this person’s promoting himself as a professional writer; ugh!

Thus, I’m feeling compelled to give some thoughts about the concepts of writing, but first I want to share previous articles I’ve written on the subject, which you might find helpful. I do this for two reasons. One, it helps with SEO; hey, I’m not too proud to say it. lol Two, because of spam I now limit the commenting period on this blog to 123 days, which obviously means you can’t comment on these articles directly anymore, but you could comment on them in this post since I’m sharing them in this post. Let’s start there:

If you don’t have a lot of time, then this article giving 10 Writing Tips In 2 Minutes is right up your alley;

In 2008 I put together a 7-part series on blogging and writing, and this was the first post, talking about writing concepts. By the way, not sure if you’ve ever noticed this but on this blog, just above every title, you’ll see links to the previous and subsequent articles. If you’re interested in checking out this whole series, in order, you’ll know which one to click on. 🙂

I always say there are 3 reasons to blog, and everything else converges into these 3 things: to inform, to educate, and to entertain. When you’re entertaining someone, knowing the art of storytelling can not only help bring visitors to your site but you’ll keep them for a longer period of time because we all love stories.

After sharing what that guy sent me, I’m betting you believe that editing and grammar is a lot more important than one might believe.

This final article I’m sharing is the one where I hope I don’t directly copy anything I wrote in it, as I talked about things people may not think of when writing. I’m just glad I didn’t use the word “concepts” in it; then I might actually be plagiarizing myself.

Languages
Chris JL via Compfight

Now that I’ve gotten that bit of self promotion out of the way, let’s see what else I have to say about writing.

I’m tired. In my last post I talked about my insomnia issues and now that I’m back home I’m actually sleeping better; there’s no place like home. However, even while being tired, I always have ideas for things to write about. I see and hear from too many people who say they can’t think of anything to write on. I’m of the opinion that if you’re saying this either you’re thinking too finitely about your topic or you’re thinking of things but discarding them because you don’t think they’re all that good.

During those periods of time when I’m writing for other people, there are some topics that I’ve felt I just didn’t have anything to offer because they seemed limited. One of those was forensic loan analysis; I wrote two articles on this topic for someone and then I was tapped. Yet the link I just shared came from someone else who wrote a guest post on my finance blog and he came up with stuff I didn’t.

A topic I was never asked to write about was artificial turf, and I can’t imagine ever trying it. Yet a friend of mine, as part of one of her college courses, actually wrote for a company’s blog where this was their product, and she figured out that talking about facilities around the world using it was a great way to keep the idea fresh in visitor’s minds; she was absolutely correct.

So, ideas are always there, and hopefully you have a way to capture those ideas. I like to use Evernote to track most ideas if I’m not at my computer but if I am at the computer I just create a draft in the blog and title that bad boy and off I go. Often I end up writing the post while I’m there but not all the time. Just an idea for you, but in any case, if you think of it write it down and worry about whether you can actually write on that subject later on.

I figure that for most people what we hear in our heads and what we actually write isn’t always the same thing. Something I do quite a bit these days is type a totally different word than what I’m thinking, even while I’m looking at it. Now that’s freaky, but that’s something new. What’s old is thinking about something, writing it all out, then realizing later on that I left a word out here and there, and that’s something I’ve done most of my life. Our brains are faster than our fingers, and they’ll often make you think you see a word that’s not there; weird right?

YIP Day 70 - More Few
Auntie P via Compfight

However, your words can’t fool your ears. On this blog I use Readspeaker so you can actually listen to a long post if you’re not in the mood to read it. It’s monotone and not all that thrilling, but it gets the job done. When I write a real long post and I want to test it to see if I’ve missed anything I’ll either read the entire thing out loud or I’ll use the Readspeaker (this only works after an article is published by the way, but if you’ve just published it no one has read it so you have time to clean it up) icon, up there in the top left, to listen to it. If you’re competent in any way (and I know any readers of this blog are competent people lol) you’ll hear the errors and omissions. You might not hear capitalization and punctuation issues, but nothing’s perfect.

One of the reasons I wanted to interview our buddy Charles Gulotta is because he’s a very creative writer and storyteller who understands the art of “surprise”. In other words, most of the time you don’t see what’s coming from what seems like an ordinary story. The same goes for our buddy Holly Jahangiri, who’s written a number of children’s books. Doing and saying something different from the norm is a pretty cool thing when it’s done right. Very few writers would survive if every person reading their books knows exactly what’s coming or how things are going to end.

In a way, it’s like this video I’m sharing. These folks were the first to do something different that was captured on video and inspired a whole lot of people to do something different during their weddings after that. Try being the inspiration one day; you might not get as much juice out of it as this did, but you’ll still have a lot of fun doing it and others seeing it will enjoy themselves as well:
 


 

I’ve seen many articles lately lamenting the act of focus in what they’re reading these days. Sometimes it’s the fault of the reader in not understanding the relationship between what’s being said, and sometimes it’s the writer. In the link above, which is on my business blog, I give 6 reasons why focus is important and how it can help you out. I tend to believe that the reason why people are scared of either writing or reading long posts has to do with focus, either not being able to stay alert long enough to read one or not having any idea where one’s writing will go if they do write long.

A truth is that it doesn’t matter if an article is long or short when it comes to focus. I’ve seen 300 word articles there were a mess; now that’s a shame! When writing to educate, you need to focus on the step by step process. When writing to inform, you need to capture a reader’s attention early to give them a reason to stick around for all the details. When writing to entertain, you need to be willing to give the reader a reason to start reading and then be secure enough to tell every detail that can help make the story even more entertaining. Addressing the five senses is a smart way to think about that.

20131017_164629

I’m going to add one more concept about writing, and I’m sure I’ve touched upon this somewhere, but luckily not in that “thoughts” post I linked to above. Whether you’re writing long posts or short posts, no matter the motivation for writing it, there’s nothing saying when an article must be completed. I tend to write fast and I doubt there are a lot of people like me writing their blogs. Some folks take a week or two in putting their thoughts together. Heck, research takes time; even this post, which I’ll probably finish writing in about 20 minutes (that’s long for me) took about 45 minutes of research up front before I started, and I’ve taken hours to research some topics before writing on them.

If you’ve written something well enough and compelling enough and it’s not your first time, your audience will wait for you to submit something new. Now, I’m talking about an article every week or every couple of weeks. If you’re writing something once every 3 months or longer… don’t expect much from any audience, because you’re probably going to lose whomever you had. There does have to be some consistency to keep people interested, but no one is expecting an article a day unless you’re on a multiple writer platform.

There you go, four new things to consider on the topic of writing. And look, I even interspersed images to help you along; I’m so nice that way. 😉 I hope everyone enjoys the holiday season, no matter what it is, and I’ll see you on the flip side.
 

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8 Comments »

Another excellent guide, Mitch. As non-native, I am quite often to make a lot of grammar mistakes, though I believe that I’ve learned a lot of concepts from you.
As you mentioned, those 3 reasons are what blogs are for, I personally hate to read blogs that always try to sell me something or recommend something without even check it.

December 23rd, 2013 | 10:04 PM

Thanks Carl. It’s my way of trying to be helpful while also working on my own craft. And you’re way ahead of me when it comes to languages; one of these decades I’m going to learn Spanish! lol

December 23rd, 2013 | 10:17 PM

Hello Mitch,

Well I must say I’m also on that list on non native and I’m also working on my writing skills. The post is indeed informative and I’ve learned some new tips today.

Thanks for sharing.
Itender Rawat recently posted…How To Convert Video Files to MP3 Free OnlineMy Profile

December 24th, 2013 | 5:43 AM

No problem Itender. That’s why I write these things. lol

December 24th, 2013 | 6:43 PM

Hey Mitch,

I have an online friend who is a freelance writer and she’s always kind of mean when she runs across someone else’s work and doesn’t think it’s up to par. The problem is that her own blog posts aren’t up to par. I mean I check for proper grammar and spelling of course and I personally know how hard that is to catch your own at times but every single post I read of hers there are errors. Whenever I’ve told her she just says “I have so much to do as it is” but that’s a reflection of her writing skills. I wouldn’t hire her.

I guess I shared this with you because although she’s not as bad but that email you got kind of reminded me of her.

I know I don’t follow any particular rules when writing my own posts but I do catch my own mistakes most of the time and I care how people perceive my work. Coming up with topics to write about usually aren’t an issue for me either but I could never write about subjects I don’t have a clue about. You’re brave my friend.

Great share Mitch and hope you have a great holiday. I’ll be taking a couple weeks off so see you next year.

~Adrienne
Adrienne recently posted…Why This Is My Last Post Of The YearMy Profile

December 24th, 2013 | 5:12 PM

Adrienne, I think you take great care with your posts, although there is one word you use often that I know is because it fits as a Southern thing more than a blatant error. lol You have the power of storytelling in your pocket and that’s your greatest strength. When you come back to blogging in the new year you’ll be enthralling your readers once more. 🙂

December 26th, 2013 | 1:09 AM
Pau:

I find that the more I write, the more new ideas come to me and new articles almost write themselves.

I really appreciate all the information and links, because we all can always become better at writing, and learning from fellow writers is probably one of the best ways.

I hope you had some great holidays yourself 🙂
Pau recently posted…How to Earn Money from Home – Best WaysMy Profile

January 1st, 2014 | 4:25 AM

Thanks Pau. I’m glad you feel like you have more to offer the more you write. Many people go in the opposite direction but I also feel that I get more inspiration and encouragement to write more as I put new things out. Have a great 2014.

January 1st, 2014 | 4:18 PM
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